Why Taking The Next Step In Your Accounting Career Might Be Difficult

I do a lot of work with accountants.  Being an accountant by profession I know that the vast majority are smart, good at their job and want to move on and up in their career.

Of course having the desire to move on and up the accountancy career ladder is great.

On the other hand actually doing it in practice is a little different.

You see being good at your job is expected.  In truth everyone who is professionally qualified can do the job to a technically competent level.

I know that my journey from a Payments Clerk to Finance Director did not happen just because I was technically competent.

So why might taking the next step in your accounting career be proving such a challenge?

Reason 1: You are lacking clarity

Let me ask you a few questions.

  1. How clear are you about what you want from your next job?
  2. How clear are you about what you can really offer to your next employer?
  3. How clear are you about what sets you apart from others at your level in accounting (or your professional field)?

So how well were you able to respond to each of these questions?

If they were a breeze then great.

On the other hand what I’ve noticed is that many accountants really lack clarity.

Without this clarity it’s almost impossible to effectively market yourself.

Solution 1: Take time to get clarity on these 3 questions.

Reason 2: You can’t articulate your value in print or in person

Before you are going to get anywhere close to getting the job offer you are going to have to demonstrate your value.

This could be in your CV, Linkedin profile, statement in support of an application or even a covering letter or email.

Equally it could be in a meeting with a recruiter, a screening interview by phone or a face to face interview.

What I’ve noticed is that most accountants can talk comfortably about the type of work they have done.

Fewer are able to articulate the value they would bring that would benefit the organisation based on past successes.

Solution 2: Take time to identify your value and write it in a series of statements.

Reason 3: You haven’t made the development of your non technical skills a priority

When I’m speaking with clients, one of the common things I hear is that their most popular courses are about Excel.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Excel is a valuable tool for accountants.

On the other hand if you are serious about moving up the career ladder you have to have a range hard and soft skills.

Hard technical type skills might get you to a mid level role.  If you want to move beyond this you need a blend of hard and soft skills.

Solution 3Take a good look at your development plans and make sure that they include plenty of soft skills or non technical skills activities.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

In summary since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them achieve career success and become better leaders and presenters. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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